Worn ‘n’ Torn

Day 1:

The other day, I was leaving office. Back at the parking lot I looked at my Motorbike; old, worn and tired…kind of like the person who drives it. Since it is from a previous era, there is no push start buttons to your aid. Just the old school kick start.

While making my way through the traffic, I couldn’t help but think:

‘I wonder what must be on it’s mind? Will it be happy with itself in comparison with other motorbikes around? sure couldn’t be’

‘The newer bikes could run a riot around this one. They will achieve in less than 4000 rpm, what my bike won’t be able to at redline. What still keeps this motorbike running other than the fuel I pour in?’

I must admit it looks decent,the body is still in good shape especially the paint. It looks classic with it’s old school naked bike styling. I haven’t done much to ruin its look.

‘But how long just with your looks? Not fast, not really efficient, just an average motorbike.’

Would the motorbike feel itself useless, if it had a soul… I wondered. Times have changed so have many things.

‘No one cares for how much of a head-turner you were once upon a time. That time is clearly over. It feels today though that you have no real value apart from a few people looking at you once in a while. You are being over-taken left right and center by bigger, better and more desirable motorbikes.’

‘Knowing all this how do you put yourself on the road every single day. Just literally to be mocked and over-taken by well-equipped , better sounding and better looking motorbikes. How do you manage son? Isn’t it an inch by inch death?’

Day 2:

It rained heavily in the past 3 hours and there is no signs of rains stopping for another couple of hours. I was moving alongside the slow traffic. The water was ankle deep and didn’t concern me at this point.

Moving further, water level rose and soon it reached knee level. This concerned me a little but I chose not to stop. The engine is still clear of water, so is the exhaust.

In just a matter of minutes, the water level rose from knee level to hip level. Cars stopped, other motorcycles stopped by the side. I could see those motorcycles almost submerged in the water. My logic was to open the throttle and not let water in the exhaust, since the exhaust was below water level. Stupid logic, but at that time it occurred to me as a bright idea. Did the motorbike stop? Yes at the last stretch of water logged street it did. Did it start again? Yes. It limped with me on our way back home.

Day 3:

The motorbike was still alive. It worked as if if nothing happened yesterday. It kept running and it still does.


 

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90:20

Have you all ever been through the situation of 90:20 anytime in your life?

I mean when you have to wait ‘n‘ number of days to get ‘n/6‘ number of free days? I am sure most of us must have gone through this. I am in such a situation now. I have to wait 90 days to get a 20 day free period. This is far from worse. I have done 730:60 in the past. Today I am fortunate to have the GTI by my side, friends, whatsapp, Kartdrome and lot of other support material and support staff. And 90 days is nothing but a piece of cake. But still the feeling that you are actually dragging yourself through those 90 days which will feel like proper 90 days kills me. The thought itself digs a 7 feet long and 7 feet deep grave.Your eyes are planted on the watch/calendar. You just want all the days to pass by for those days to come so that they can pass by at the speed of light. Oh lord! What a disaster! 😛

Next 90 days are going to be hard. Summer would fry me and my poor little car. My car looks blue and I look dark tanned. What exactly does this summer want of us, lol! 😥  😛  Job would shatter and batter me during this time frame for some odd reason. Time will be reluctant to move and adopts snail speed. Even if I manage to cross them all and happily enjoy my 20 days, after those 20 days what awaits me is a ruptured life both professionally and personally. My finances would be in shambles and life would be tough. Still I would choose my 20 days freedom, no matter what. Even if I choose to stay back and not go, it’s not going to help much and I would rather be off even if it maybe for a second.

So the challenges ahead of me are plenty … from getting my leave approved to building my dream motorbike back at home.

I have taken my off 4 months back and it remains to be a challenge to convince the main man here that I again require a break. That too for doing nothing in the name of job.

The good thing is that my cousin (another one) is getting married (which is true) and hence I can confidently put that forth and give it a try. Onam is during those times and I haven’t been home in 6-7 years for Onam. That’s another argument.

None of these actually matter. They are not even close to the real reason why I am going home. It must be rainy season in Kerala and I am missing the rains in Kerala. Perfect chance to see the nature and appreciate India for once with the mouth I swear abuses. Appreciate it for having beautiful nature and amazing climate (except summers). Not that humans there have done anything for India (or Kerala) to beautify the place, but glad that nature still loves to pamper our country.

More than that, I am going to rebuild my cousins 12 year old motorbike to my dream bike (sounds so sleazy). That is something I look forward to. Though the modifications that I do are mostly cosmetic, I had this in my mind for years. The key chain I bought 8 years ago is still in my locker at my parents place. I hope its that time, it finds a key to go with. I have already passed on the word that I would buy the motorbike and I hope they don’t give my untimely shock at the last moment. That will be really sad. But for now, with the help of my friends I have started enquiring about the parts and stuff. I don’t how well this project is going to go. But always worth a try 🙂

 

This was 4 years ago when I had this bike to myself for a few days.

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The one on the right… the black one 😉 If the mods go well, the bike wouldn’t look anything like it does now.

 

I hope they don’t leave me with a broken heart and seriously, even if I manage to get the bike the modifications might take another 13 days at least and at this stage I am dependent on so many people. One doesn’t work out and everything falls apart. God save my soul.

But then what matters the most is I have a reason to look forward. Fight for glory continues….

On that inspiring bombshell, Good night! 


 

First ride : Ducati Scrambler

This was a test drive motorcycle and provided to us by the Ducati Showroom. We booked a test drive or rather my biker friend was invited to have a go at this newly launched motorbike. Special thanks to the Ducati showroom.

This is not a complete review of the motorbike, but a mere test drive. Hence bear with me if the details/info are too less.

Please use proper safety clothing and kit at all times.


Taking the above statement one step forward, the staff in Ducati showroom were so kind and I loved the way they treated their customers. Not that they had done something out of their way to give us any special treatment. It’s just that many motorcycle showrooms don’t even know what customer service means. +5 right there to Ducati.

When I mean first ride, it’s actually my first ride on a Ducati. Ironic enough, I have never driven anything which is above a quarter liter (250 cc) in the motorbike section. Yet again, I have never driven a motorcycle which has more than one cylinder. So couple of days back, my records were re-written and my limits were pushed a bit further when I test drove a DUCATI SCRAMBLER, the newest and the cheapest Ducati that money can buy.

The bike has not had an official launch/promo by the showroom yet I believe, which they are doing only a week later. The Italian super bike and sports bike makers are known for their exotic range of motorcycles and as we all know is owned by Volkswagen Auto Group.

Ducati Scrambler made it’s debut in last quarter of 2014, will be launched in India next month and hence I feel this is the right time to chip in some quick facts about the motorbike. Just that most of my readers happen to be from India, hence such a statement.

Basically Scramblers are a class of motorcycles which are light, compact, with off-roading capability, easy to repair due to it’s relatively lesser complex systems. Ducati is not the only motorcycle manufacturer to make a Scrambler. I have heard about Triumph Scrambler but since I have not driven another Scrambler, I would refrain from commenting anything about the other manufacturers.

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Things I liked about the motorbike :

  1. Looks very appealing especially the retro design.
  2. Feels premium quality as one would expect of a Ducati.
  3. Light, nimble and flickability.
  4. Engine.
  5. Simple and rider friendly. Not too many controls to make you feel confused.
  6. Ergonomics; upright seating position.

Things to be taken note of:

  1. Power, adequate enough or a bit less than that.
  2. Handle-bar is a bit high for my liking (shouldn’t be a problem for many)
  3. Wind-blasts can be felt at higher speeds
  4. 43,000 AED (`731000 INR) for the basic Icon version and goes all the way till 50,ooo AED (`850000 INR) for the top variant.

The test bike had a custom Termignoni exhaust instead of the stock.

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Ride :

To sum the whole experience up in one word; Fun.

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With the key turned to ignition mode, the unique Ducati styled engine kill switch pushed up to OFF position and pressing the self starter which was previously hidden by the ignition switch; you are greeted by a ear-pleasing growl by the L-twin engine. Thanks to the Termignoni custom exhausts, the note starts growing in you. The motorbike is capable of doing 75 bhp @ 8250 rpm and has a max torque value of 68 Nm @ 5750 rpm.

As the motorbike starts moving, you know that this going to be fun. It’s light and flicking between the traffic or changing lanes has never been easier. With a wet weight of around 190 kgs, this motorcycle accelerates very brisk. With a rev friendly engine that it has, it is happy to rev from any point with ease. Thus straight lines and corners felt amazingly good. Though I have mentioned that there is only adequate power, the statement no way means it’s under-powered.

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The handle-bars felt a bit high for my liking, though the upright seating would help in long distance drives. It drives on Pirellis,  110/80 r18 at the front and 180/55 r17 at the back which gives it the retro look which goes pretty well in the bike’s favor. Apart from that, the mono-shock suspension at the back and inverted fork in the front do their job pretty well. The braking is very good and it is achieved by a 330 mm front single disc and 245 mm rear discs.

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The wind-blast is prominent at high speeds and that is probably a curse of all naked bikes. Serious off-roading wouldn’t be recommended on this bike. It’s a perfect bike for the beginners and amateur bikers who are fans of naked motorbikes. A perfect upgrade to anyone driving a quarter liter class bike.

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The initial gears of the bikes are amazing, it pulls very aggressively at any rpm range and especially above 6000 rpm. The gear shifts are precise and smooth. The throttle response is crisp and almost immediate. The clutch is light and easy to use. The rev-counter is not that easy to spot especially while riding. Actually I gave up looking at the rev-counter and went with the engine noise as usual.

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Talking a bit more about the ride; it handles exceptionally well but I haven’t driven it to insanely high speeds so would reserve my comment on that. The best thing about the motorbike for me is it’s beautiful engine. I really can’t get over it. At any speed below 3500 rpm the engine might start knocking and hence the instruction from the showroom was to keep it at an optimum 5000-6000 rev range. Out of the very few controls that it has, the switch to toggle between the tripmeter and odometer is right next to the horn. Cornering is a very easy task in this bike and the rear wide tires is the main reason. It feels composed throughout the corners but what you would appreciate more is the straights after the corners when it starts pulling like a locomotive. It didn’t disappoint me at any time of my drive and left me wanting for more and more and more and even more.

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My take on the Bike : 

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A beautiful thing. It’s a fun bike and can possible be a practical bike except for couple of things like smaller 13.5 liter fuel tank capacity. This bike is simple and very rider-friendly indeed.

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Ducati Scrambler

During the last round of ride that I had on this motorbike, I was thinking as to when will I have the urge to upgrade to another motorbike with more power arise? The answer was not very far from now. But at this point of time, I have to give it to Ducati for it’s a very fun and rider oriented make supplemented by an amazing engine to make it even more attractive. Definitely a good choice for anyone who loves retro styling and fun. Well done Ducati! 

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Many thanks to CrazyBiker, my partner in this crime. He took amazing pics of me in action with the motorbike and more than that, he called me to go with him for the test drive. Gracias! 

 

Ellaveezhapoonchira – An offbeat place raided solo :)

Sad that I left this trip incomplete as well. Fate is what I can blame grrr!!!


Today I have too many salutations to start with, but let me quote down what I think is the most funny here.

I and my colleague were going for lunch, in my car. We enter I pull my seat belts and he pulls the passenger side seat belt

Ufff! Your passenger side seat belt has become stiff. That pretty much explains your life.

I couldn’t laugh more at that comment. Pretty true about what he said. That explains my life.

I have do so many solo trips by now that I might be labelled a ‘Loner’ by my family and friends. I have got the hang of solo travels. NO. My IQ and planning has not improved, but I have gotten used to travelling alone without getting too bored. I can now look at my peers and laugh at them, when they are like ‘Travelling alone is so boring.’

I say waiting for someone to travel along is the utmost boring thing. Just use the time in hand and go for it. Alone or in a group. Don’t bother.

Now that today’s gyaan is dealt with, let me move on.

That was a good trip to Athirapally with bhpians. And then again I had good 5-6 days left to go. I had done all that I had intended to during these past days. What next?

Another trip. Where to? I had quite a few places in my mind. But I had to be cost efficient this time, so lot of options got voted out. Including Meghamalai, which was a priority for me.

Then again the place should be less crowded, I can’t deal with traffic and I am in mood for that. I am a tired man. It should be bit of an off-beat place, the one not so touristy.

I remembered long time back I and another friend had planned a trip to Ellaveezhapoonchira (also Illaveezhapoonchira for some others). It never happened cos I never had a ride. Even today that still remains to be my number one problem. I don’t have a ride, since I come to India for no more than 10-20 days in a year. May be it’s the other way around, the reason I don’t come to India for more than that 10-20 day period. I hate it without a motorcycle (read Bullet). Even if the motorcycle was to be parked simply at home, I would still love to see it there and I would pay up to come and see it more than anything.

Before I go any further, let me introduce you to this weird named place ‘Ellaveezhapoonchira’. Let me be a proper malayali and explain this big name to you all. Illa/Ella, is not illa which means no/not. Ila/Ela means leaves (from trees here) veezha means not falling or doesn’t fall, poo means flower and poonchira means flowery pond or pond filled with flowers. So summing it all up ‘a pond of flowers where leaves don’t fall’. Quite a beautiful name and that was one of the reason I wanted to go there. To see that pond. Did I succeed? Read on.

Read about this place here.

So once that was clear that not many options available for me, I mean my ride. I had to check out what to drive to Ellaveezhapoonchira. So I had two options, a Splendor plus which my father uses or a Honda Activa that my father’s younger brother has.

Obviously my uncle had kept the Activa in good condition. It was maintained, rear tire replaced and service done. Good.

I hate motorcycles without gears. Oh I just hate it. I avoid driving scooters as much as I can. It has been a long time I haven’t got a chance to drive scooters. So I just mentally prepared myself to do this Herculean task on a boring scooter. It will be boring but then I felt like experiencing it. I avoided the Splendor altogether, for which I pay with my sweat and blood later on.

So on a Wednesday morning at sharp 8…9…10…10:30 am I leave. My plan vs actual curve doesn’t match at all. But then the idea was to reach a bit before evening. Enjoy till evening and cover most of the distance before sunset. How hard can it be to drive a 100 kms? Then again, plan vs actual.

The thing that I didn’t realize was that this is an Activa. A thing that goes no more than 70 kmph and max 80 kmph if you don’t value your life. I should have left before 10:30 am.

That thing activa requires me to plan my emergency braking 20 meters before and if I am using my foot as well then 10 meters. No less than that.

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That’s not my home people. I am a smart ass, but I took that route.

How rude am I? It does all that is expected of it. It’s just not a good tourer. It’s a simple scooter for normal daily use. The 102 cc 7 hp scooter is probably 10 years old.

So this was the route map. 113 kms to be precise as per Google.

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The initial reading looked like this…

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The vehicle looked like this

I start and in 10 mins I am lost. But I get back to the proper road and fill up for 200 rs. The tank was full and it’s a pleasant feeling in India. I rode away to Mavelikara and I got lost there. I got back to Chennganur and then Thiruvalla. The roads are bad, I am not even half the way and I have a sore back already. I drive slow at say 40-50 kmph and the engine feels good at that kind of speed.

Once I crossed Thiruvalla, I asked for Manarcaud which is a part of Kottayam district. Now I don’t have GPS in my mobile so I resort to the oldest way of getting the directions, known as asking people. Once I was on the way to Thengana, the roads started getting better and towards Manarcaud it was heaven.

I would say Kottayam dist has some of the best roads to offer in the whole of Kerala. Amazing roads.

I stop at one place to rest my sore back. By back I mean the entire back. My ass was grass 😛

Then this happened…

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Not one pothole on that rubberized track, oh I was so in love with those beautiful asphalts with amazing and scary twisties.

some greens

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And then lot of greens

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These sort of greenery is everywhere in Kerala. It’s not a big deal finding out some good place to take a couple of pics except in the city limits, which is in a state of despair. I was trying not to get down from the ride and making excuses for not clicking. It would be hard to cover distance if I do it often.

Will save the next pic for last…

So I drive again and there is no sense of urgency in my driving. 40-50 kms is what I did, the roads were good and I need to make sure that I don’t go wrong. I reach Kidangoor and then from there Pala. Marvellous roads except for some patches in the city.

I don’t stop until I reach Melukavu which is around 25 kms from Pala. Then I cannot control my urge to click. I stop more than 3 times at various places for a break.

I didn’t get the exposure right the first time, but later on I get better with it. I have done minimal editing in these road pics, cos they by themselves looked so good.

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Had someone gifted me a super wide angle lens, this scenery would have looked fab. 😥

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This deserves full size…

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I drive again just to stop in another 5 kms. Melukavu is such a beautiful place. There is no way I can forget this place.

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In a bit I stop again, what beautiful roads. Completely fell in love with the road.

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After this I see the board to Ellaveezhapoonchira (written as Illaveezhapoonchira). It’s 9 kms to the place, and I try to cover it, and I realize it’s much more than 9 kms. I had to leave the Activa half the way because I smell oil and I smoke the scooter all over. That’s the first time I smoked a motorcycle and I felt like a cool guy. The pics of that I’ll add in the next post.

After the first 5 kms there is no roads. Simply none. There is just steep climb on a 4×4 territory. The Activa could have managed it at the expense of 1 liter petrol extra and some smoke but then I don’t like that. Petrol is gold in India. I park it there and leave my helmet on the it and start walking.

Here is where I wished I had taken a motorcycle with gear. There were motorcycle with gear doing this feat easily. I was walking that steep climb with 0 hp left in me.

I somehow put my camera in sketch mode, and I didn’t realize. The end result was this

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Then I walk and click

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It started getting dark…

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I walk walk and finally reach a point where I have to climb another 10 kms to see the view point. This is the point where I decide, I will come back with torquey Bullet and raid the hell out this place but for now it’s already 5:15 and I have to cover more than half of my way before the light goes out.

Somehow on the way back I find this small temple. I click a couple of pics there before I put my camera to rest and walk back.

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I walk back to see my Activa and helmet safe and sound, waiting for me like an obedient school kid.

Now let me draw your attention to the small little drawbacks of this place…

Non existent road (all captured on my mobile phone)

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This is the route in which I tried to unleash the hidden powers of Activa… failed miserably.

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The top view point where I couldn’t make it.

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Sun setting 🙂

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On the return, I gave a good run for the money. At 70-80 kmph, I had couple of places where I had panics but then experience (read luck) helped me handle those situation. I was on the way to Manarcad when I lost the light and not one street light was working as expected.

I reached Thengana and I had a pillion half way towards my route, who helped me figure out another route. The distance might have been the same but helped to gun the Activa to glory.

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The final reading as it read.

So highlights of this trip,

Start from home : 10:30 AM
Food from KTDC 7 kms away from Pala at 2:30 PM
Reach Ilaveezhapoonchira 4:15 PM
Trek up and return back 5:30 PM
Start the scooter for return leg 5:35PM
Reach home 9:05 PM

Total kms : 249 kms

Total fuel : 350 rs (with half a tank remaining)

So that was scary and unpredictable journey, successfully completed with some incomplete portions. I am satisfied as I didn’t spend much manhours planning the trip. The trip could have been much better and so must I get better in planning a trip well.

Now I’m introducing something new in my blog…. something I wanted but haven’t till now (thanks to Teny and his blog… taking inspiration from there)

REVIEW :

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Pros :

A silent getaway, Good trekking spot, Helpful natives, Amazing nature, Solitude, Beautiful roads to the place till you reach last 10 kms, Melukavu, very cost effective, Do-able even on a 100cc motorcycle provided you know how to tackle the bad roads, at the top if the climate is good you can see view of places in Allepey dist and Malankara reservoir, good place to visit with friends or even family no signs of any anti-socials or such threats, Challenging. 

Cons : 

Non existent roads for last 5-6 kms, Only one small shop on the way to the top, for hiring a jeep you might have to spend up to 1000 rs unless you bargain hard to get it a bit down, Very risky doing the bad trails on motorcycle, People might find the troubles taken unworthy for what awaits is just a view, 4×4 will be the best possible option to climb up hassle free, place looks a bit deserted and undeveloped.

Best time to visit :

Somewhere between Dec-Mar would be the best time to visit as I see it (based on my experience). Slight monsoon drizzles would leave the nature more beautiful but then it comes with it’s own risks. Especially the roads or lack of thereof. Hence I would suggest Dec-Mar to make it hassle free.

Things to be careful about:

When it starts to rain or if there is thunder / lightning, immediately start walking back. Don’t stay at the top as chances are high that the lightning might strike. Hence to avoid risk, if you even see drizzles, leave the place immediately.

My opinion :

Definitely worth a shot for all the beautiful roads till the place and if you love silence and tranquility, think no more. Recommended. 


 So when is Meghamalai? 😥

Meandering around Kerala – 2

Read from here.


 

Before I go to the surroundings, let me give you a glimpse of my room there.

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Cars, Motorbikes and Footballers share my room. Frank Lampard used to play for Chelsea and Kaka’ used to play for Milan then. R15 was a newly launched sensation then. Lots of memories!!!

Moving on, let me show you ‘The Wall of fame!’ I set up. The Golf is already up there 🙂 There is plenty of space left to fill on the wall, hopefully some pics I took may go in there.

 

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Let’s get out of my house and look outside. There used to be other plants now it’s Rubber. Sadly 😦

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This place has lots of snakes running around. Especially in the rains you can see snakes and moving leaves. The best thing to do is not to hurt them, even unintentionally. When we walk through these woods, we keep each step with care.

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Lots of birds around these trees. The area is so cool, and the breeze is too good. But sadly you won’t be able to enjoy it due to lots of other insects around trying to prey on your blood. Especially huge mosquitoes grrrr!!!! The negative of living near greenery.

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So leave the surrounding adjoining my place alone for now.

Let’s focus on something else. It’s common in our movies to show a husband really alcoholic and doesn’t take care of his family. Well sort of same drama just behind my house. I don’t want to interfere with them but here are the pics. This is behind my house, adjacent to the back yard.

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The house they used to live in. Now it is empty

 

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Void of any fancy construction

A far look at their kitchen

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Used to be their kitchen
Used to be their kitchen

 

The unfinished parts of their home, probably cos of strained finances.

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Their fresh water well

 

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Our well is more deeper than this, and very old too. This is a new blood, may be a decade old. This is nothing as compared to ours *smirk*

In a bit, my mother starts screaming as usual for going in their plot and taking pics.

Probably get ready to get bullied.

But then I manage to successfully complete my mission and return back to the base. Then my mother was not so pleased with my mission. As usual.


 

Hope you all enjoyed my pics. I didn’t edit much… The reason I will share with you all later on 🙂

(To be contd…) my take on the place, people

 

 

Meandering around Kerala – 1

Kerala… Kerala… Kerala!!! One of the best places in this world to be in. For me it has been so for god knows how long. Pluvial Kerala… hehe! A place where it could rain any time of the year.

In early days it used to be cos of a cousin with whom I shared twin like relation. Sharing all of what I knew, hearing all of what he has to say at the year end vacation was an amazing feeling.

In my younger days, during college I would be amazed to hear about travel stories from my rich Keralite friends. Most of them from Kerala even though the college was far away from Kerala.

Now a days, I enjoy the place for her evergreen face and effortless ease with which she can please the rain gods to favor her lands with ample rainfall.

Now that my cousin from the first part, with whom I don’t stay in touch, is getting married. That was one reason for me to come visit Kerala.

They say, you don’t need to go far away to click beautiful pics and I agree with that in Kerala. You just step out and look. Definitely scope for a good pic should be somewhere around. Though I have planned visiting couple of places, I am not going to ignore my surroundings. My house is 8 kms away from a good local market, 18 kms away from the nearest small town and 68 kms away from the nearest main city. Its a proper village, and this fact used to bug me all the time before.

I was raised in a city and I would hate the slow and lazy days that I would spend here. But now after all these years, I appreciate the slow moving time. I appreciate the fact that I get to breathe unpolluted air, get to use clean and fresh water. Moreover I appreciate the silence around. I can sit on the easy chair in the courtyard and hear the birds chirping. All that is audible is various sounds of birds, lots of variety. I don’t follow birds, and hence I don’t know the different varieties but there are plenty of them.

I will try and capture some birds later on.

So today out of my 2 or 3 topics, I am sharing my parents place. I was never a great fan of this place till recent days. It is not easily accessible due to non-availability of frequent public transport to my place. But then, I realize that if I buy a Bullet I can have a heaven for myself here. So moving on, my house was built recently some 7 years back. My dad altered some of the components like the door, the fresh water well, from the usual design… which I will share with you all for now.

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The ornate lock (called Manichitrathazu in our language) is a famous movie, which was remade into 3-4 other languages. The Bollywood/Hindi movie is Bhul Bhulaiya 😛 in which they had killed all the essence of the movie. But that’s not the point now, Is it? 😛

The house is safeguarded by a front door made of teak, with an ornate lock. The ornate lock is used in temple’s mostly. It looks a bit scary/divine (depending on the angle you look at it) and it’s of course a very offbeat style (read freak) on a door. The door has so many designs that it took the carpenter months to make it. Obviously costed me a bomb, but then my father’s argument was that you won’t make a house every day. No doubt the work looks fabulous on the teak. The door is huge and my mother still struggles to push it together and lock. It’s heavy and thick. If you have ever noticed a Hindu temple and the doors used, this door is thicker than that. Not massive but thicker than the usual I would say

The ornate lock is the square center piece, on which you latch and lock with the king size keys. The ornate lock by itself is very weak, hence if you look above the round clamp you will see another key hole. The door is powered by two locks instead of one. The round clamp can be used to knock the door, and can be used to pull the door together for locking it. The rest are all just ornamental designs.

 

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The veranda has a wooden like frame which used to be a trademark of old day houses in Kerala. Read more about olden day homes here. All window frames are wooden, but not teak. Read about the wooden frames used for windows here.

 

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This is our stylish fresh water well. Lol! Look at it. Dad made a mess of it right there. Looks cool to some, but I seriously think this is overdone. Also you can’t use a small steel bucket to draw water in case the motor goes kaput. Freak fresh water well 😛

 

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And and and finally, this is where my Royal Enfield 350cc standard ‘Bullet’ will be resting a year or two down the lane. A perfect place of my motorbike. 😀

If you look around, the dry leaves haven’t been cleaned in a long time. I am not lazy to clean it but I love the rough looks. Why can’t the ground sport a beard!!! 😀

 


 

(To be contd…) with part 2 – surroundings!!!

My second road permit :'(

Let me take the contents of this post to the next level.

In the last two years of my life, couple of good things that I can count is getting a car license and getting a car. Now one more thing to add to the list.

The good thing about the car license was that I could convert it into IDL (International Driving License) by just going to that office, and showing my UAE license and paying the required fee. I knew the importance of IDL on my visit to Thailand. You don’t get an insurance without an IDL. You do get a car/motorcycle but void insurance which is risky. Now that the car license was dealt with, I wanted to go for the motorcycle license. I always wanted to do a US/Europe country trip on a motorcycle and hence getting a IDL from here would prove really helpful.

I have driven commuter motorcycles till quarter liter in India and my experience with motorcycles is around 14 years give or take. Believe it or not it took me 9 god damn months to get a motorcycle license. I was away for a month and a half, but still. I had hardly driven a car in India, and irony is I got that in 3 months. Expenses I will mention below.

So here is why ….

First of all when you go in, to open a file for driving license you need to pay around ~Inr 25,200 ( 1 USD ~ 61 Inr). You get your eyes checked, you get a riders manual, you get the dates for classes… classes to make you aware on the rules and regulations to be followed while driving. After you attend the theory class, you go for a theory test. The theory test has 2 sections, having 17 and 18 questions respectively. You need to get 13 in each of them right, else you fail. You have to take the test again. I got this 1st time with just two answers wrong.

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The road signs you sit and learn…..

 

 

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The book that I went through for the test.

 

I had an Indian license which is more than 7 years old, so I am supposed to take only 15 classes instead of 30, before I attend my 1st round of final test, which is taken in a small ground specially designed for this test and yes it is tarmac. Each class costs you 1.1 K INR. After the 14th class, I am supposed to attend an assessment test, which will decide whether I need to take extra classes or I am fit to go for the first round of final tests. I have to pay 1700 INR for the assessment test and after the test, the instructor suggests me 4 extra classes. I pay for those, and then get a date for my first round of final test for which again I pay around 5-6k.

The first round of final test, as mentioned is in a designated area. The instructor checks how good I can ride slow, fast, how well I can emergency brake, how well I can respond to quick instructions given by him and while doing all this do I use all my warning signals. Even if I managed to not perform well in any one of these, they fail you. Without a mercy. I failed twice before I got through this and I must admit it was my mistake. Once you fail, you should take mandatory 6 classes and pay the fees for the classes and test again. All of it around 10k + Inr. I did that thrice and third time I passed.

Once that was dealt with, the second round of final test is on the road. I again had to pay for 6 road classes and take classes before I could get a final test date. I completed the road classes, did my first final test and the inspector failed me. He said I was not confident, rather he was not confident enough to pass me. So I had to go through all this again, fees for 6 classes and final test. The second time I was bit more confident and I managed to crack the final test.

So you guys want to have a look at the paper works I went through for getting this license??

 

The number of invoices of payment.
Invoices of payment.

 

Thickness of those collected invoices
Thickness of those collected invoices

 

Thickness of other papers apart from invoices
Thickness of other papers apart from invoices

Not done yet. I had to pay another 5k for getting the license card printed in my name. Then and then they went ahead and printed that I am permitted to drive a motorcycle, along with my LMV.

So on the whole I ended up spending something north of 100,000 Inr for my car license and something north of 100,000 Inr for motorcycle license, which makes it a grand total of 200,000 Inr + for both of these.

I am not trying to shed my tears here, which you must have understood by now 😛 But I did shed a lot of tears in the process.

I am just pointing out how nice it would have been to have some of these rules in India. Not all, but some… so that people have a clue of what they are doing on the roads.

Teary Good night! 😥 😥

PS : I haven’t mentioned about the politics that goes on in the driving school. Luckily I happened to do both my test in the worst of the driving schools in UAE, which is better by far than Indian RTO’s. Anyone who is in UAE and wants the name of the driving school which I went to, please do not hesitate to drop a mail. Let me be the Bible for anyone who wants to save their souls 🙂